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March 26, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Windy Walk

Before Fezzik even woke up this morning I could hear the wind outside thundering against the walls and making the house creak. The sunshine was brilliant, and both John and Fezzik woke up fairly early. I knew that we wanted to meet Debbie and Matt at Marshall Mesa, so I knew I had to get up eventually, but I waited until the last moment to get up.

Both John and Fezzik were mostly ready to go, so I tossed one of the slices of Jenny's bread into the toaster and then spread it with some of the leftover artichoke heart dip from last night. I put my shoes on while it toasted, and then scrambled into Borax. John was already warming up the engine and Fezzik was patiently waiting in the back. The wind pushed against the truck with varying gusts, some of them really hard. The sun was shining and proved warm even against the wind. I was glad I brought my completely wind proof jacket when we got to the park. The open flat area at the bottom has no protection against the wind, so got the worst of it.

The three of us waited at the bottom of the hill for a good twenty minutes just in case Matt and Debbie showed up. Since they moved last weekend we didn't have a useful phone number for them in order to check if they were actually going today. I think a few months ago John and I might have bagged it, or only done part of the walk; but with the regular bike rides on the exercise bike both of us were in pretty good shape and the 1 1/2-mile climb and loop wasn't nearly as intimidating. So we did the whole thing, and once we got going on the uphill section we took Fezzik off his leash with the rationalization that since he was going slower uphill it would be easier to catch him if he decided to bolt. Of course, that didn't take into account that it would be harder for us to go uphill as well. Luckily Fezzik decided that staying with us wasn't so bad, though there were sections when he started hurrying for no good reason.

As John put it, near the end of the walk, Fezzik actually did very well even though we had to say, "Wait!" a few hundred times. Fezzik actually did very well and stuck with us through the whole trip, although he did speed up in order to greet dogs he actually could be turned away from following them and they continued on their way. He went into the water as he needed, and got a good swim both the beginning and the end of the parallel track at the top of the Mesa. Finally, at the bottom and at the end of the walk he went and lay down in the drainage ditch that he usually uses. The sunshine heated him up pretty well, and the final soak seemed to cool him down enough so that he wasn't panting as hard anymore.

As usual, on the way home we stopped at Costco stock up on all the bulk things that we run through every few months. Stuff like dog food, toilet paper, lotion, pretzels, and frozen entrees for quick dinners. I bought ravioli for some variation from the pot stickers and spaghetti and meatballs that we do have stocked up. As usual, we basically got our lunch eating from all of the sample carts that were scattered throughout the store, everything from Buffalo chicken to filtered water was available. On the way home we stopped by Safeway, and when John took a right turn pretty hard everything fell on Fezzik. Fezzik only looked rather puzzled rather than actually hurt. When we actually pulled into the parking lot, John got out and straightened everything out. After seeing the shrimp episode of Good Eats last night I was tempted to make shrimp cocktail sometime today, so I wanted to go to Safeway to get the makings for the cocktail sauce he'd made.

I ran in, found John followed me as I stood and looked over all the various types of horseradish and then we got the things and got to the checkout stand. The girl there asked, "Oh... making cocktail sauce?" and I kinda blinked at her and nodded, "Yeah." I wonder if she watches the show? I probably should have asked, but didn't. We wandered home...

Lunch was leftovers. Yum. The last of the creamed chicken thing on the last of Jenny's bread. Purr. I also had a mug of the Campbell's pour and heat tomato soup. I love the stuff, and it was excellent with the cold sandwich. I thought, then, about just going to sleep as most of my muscles were pleasently sore from the walk, but I was stinky, and I still had to install the NaturallySpeaking 4.01 on my machine as well as catch up on all the pieces that I hadn't done, yet.

So I took a shower, instead. A nice, long shower that made me feel human again. When I was done, John decided to do stuff outside and asked me if I wanted to help him by doing the acid stuff to the evergreens. He said he'd do it if I didn't, but that it was nice to have the help. So I went out and did it.

The sun and wind combination is mildly exhausting as both elements dry me out, but the wind makes me feel cold but the sun makes me hot, so I just feel mostly confused while I'm outside. It was fun to make all the trees sparkle with the food and then John followed me with the hose to thoroughly soak all the trees. Poor things. I have a feeling that the stand of cottenwoods all along the side of the property might have died this winter with the lack of water. We just haven't really watered them all winter and while the bigger ones might be established well enough, we just think that watering trees is unnatural enough that I don't really think we've gone to that effort. Seeing the evergreen start to yellow or brown is enough of a shock to do something, but I think the deciduous trees might be in as much trouble, just unseen.

Installing the new version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking turned out to be a breeze, and the new program used the old vocabulary and old speech files I already had on the machine without any trouble. I was pretty impressed at how easy it was, and at all the new features that allowed both the ability to dictate into the word processor that Dragon supplies as well as into any other Windows document and application. It even allows control and usage of the menus by voice rather than with a mouse. The new correction facilities and tools make life a lot easier, and really improves my dictation speed and accuracy. The best thing of all is that it now intelligently places spaces when I insert a word in the middle of a sentence. I started out with a long letter to Geoff, which I might actually throw out as a good deal of it might stem from the fact that I am panicking with the visit coming up so closely; and I then went into the journal entries that I wanted to work with. I actually wrote most of Thursday on Thursday, but it's on my work machine and I forgot to put it on to a floppy disk for easy transfer to the machine that actually has connection capabilities.

This whole secondary relationship thing kind of confuses me, especially with some of the emotional nuances that flip-flop between righteousness and justification. I really do know that it is possible for me to go without any secondary relationships whatsoever, and I have done so for years, and the desire for outside relationships has always made me feel guilty. Social pressures assure that guilt, as everyone knows that once one is married, that's it and I have few nearby examples of marriages with secondary relationships. So neither John nor I have someone to talk all this over with. Most folks that have secondary relationships have a primary relationship, but few of them are actually legally married to their primary or maintain a marriage for most public consumption. I have a feeling that there are actually open relationships even in my workplace, but like us they just don't flaunt it or make it particularly public. It is Boulder, or so they say.

I really do like talking with Cera about it, and she understands the nomenclature and the definitions as well as the Net's take on it. I do know that there are plenty of people on the Internet that I could probably talk to about this, but it's been so long since I've been involved with that side of the Internet. So, yes, it worries me in some ways to seem so different. Then again, in some ways I've been doing this since Mark, so I'm not sure why I'm so confused. Then again, with the way that one ended or even with the way that one proceeded, maybe I have a right to be confused and apprehensive.

When my voice ran out it was dark out, and I had watched the mountains glowing in the sunset light and the clouds turning to fire and then to glowing coals and then to ash. I even wrote a second version of the letter for Geoff that turned out to be much better than the first. Also, since I dreamed of Mark last night, I wrote that dream up for him and mailed it to him as well. Just random things that should get out there, someday.

So I wandered down, and while John watched TV I pulled frozen shrimp out of the freezer, dunked them in cold water and then built a nice bit of brine for them. Made sure they were thawed through before putting them into the ice-cold brine and then I made cocktail sauce from the stuff we bought. The whole recipe is available from the Food TV Good Eats page, but the fun thing was brining the shrimp and then broiling them for just a few minutes on each side and then dumping them on a tray from the freezer and then putting them back into the freezer just for a few minutes.

The shrimp turned out crisp and lovely. Yummy and well seasoned and perfectly cooked, not too much so that they were still tremendously tender, but enough so that they were thoroughly finished. And the cocktail sauce in the recipe was *great*. I loved the clean horseradish bite against the sweetness of the tomatoes and the complexity of the chili sauce. Nice. Especially with all of it good and cold.


I just boiled some frozen ravioli for dinner with a hard-cheese and herb tossing with it to get it to taste yummy. Quick, filling, and nice.

Brought to you by Dragon System's NaturallySpeaking vertion 4.01.

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